Huge numbers of people on Earth are keen to leave the planet forever and seek a new life homesteading on Mars. About 78,000 people have applied to become Red Planet colonists with the nonprofit organization Mars One since its application process opened on April 22, officials announced Tuesday. Mars One aims to land four people on the Red Planet in 2023 as the vanguard of a permanent colony, with more astronauts arriving every two years thereafter.
“With 78,000 applications in two weeks, this is turning out to be the most desired job in history,” Mars One Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Bas Lansdorp said in a statement. “These numbers put us right on track for our goal of half a million applicants.”
Mars One estimates that landing four settlers on Mars in 2023 will cost about $6 billion. The Netherlands-based organization plans to pay most of the bills by staging a global reality-TV event, with cameras documenting all phases of the mission from astronaut selection to the colonists’ first years on the Red Planet. The application process extends until Aug. 31. Anyone at least 18 years of age can apply by submitting to the Mars One website a 1-minute video explaining his or her motivation to become a Red Planet settler.
Text by Mike Wall. Continue THERE
NASA’s Curiosity rover has found what it went to Mars to look for: evidence of an environment that could have once supported life.
Chemical analyses show that a greyish powder taken from the rover’s first drilled rock sample contains clay minerals formed in water that was slightly salty, and neither too acidic nor too alkaline for life.
“If this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it,” says Curiosity project scientist John Grotzinger, a planetary geologist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He and other NASA researchers announced the findings today at a news briefing in Washington DC.
Previous missions to Mars have spotted clay minerals. And Curiosity itself had already found signs that liquid water once flowed across the surface. But the pinch of powder tested by Curiosity, from a rock nicknamed John Klein, is the first hard evidence of water-borne clays in a benign pH environment. “This is the only definitive habitable environment that we’ve described and recorded,” says David Blake, principal investigator for the rover’s Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument (CheMin) at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.
Excerpt from an article written by Alexandra Witze and Nature magazine. Continue THERE
At 2 a.m. on 18 July, 2011, nomads in the Oued Drâa valley, to the east of Tata, Morocco, witnessed a ball of fire streak across the sky, followed by a series of sonic booms.
The explanation was as surprising to scientists as to those who saw it fall: a meteorite from Mars had made its way to Earth.
Martian meteorites comprise only 0.15% of meteorites known to science—that’s a mere 61 out of 41,000 specimens. The Moroccan meteorite — which was named Tissint after a village 48km southwest of a recovery site — was particularly exciting.
Because the fall was witnessed, it took only three months for fragments to be recovered, which minimized the meteorite’s exposure to oxygen, rainwater, and other contaminating factors on Earth. This, combined with the dry climate of Saharan Morocco, meant that the meteorite was in stellar condition.
Excerpt of an article written by Audrey Tempelsman, at The Naked Scientists. Continue HERE
A high-resolution interactive 360 panorama of Curiosity’s landing site stitched by EDS Systems. See it HERE
The unimaginably arid conditions of South America’s Atacama Desert have mad it the perfect scientific stand-in for Mars. So in a place that is quite literally almost alien, it makes sense we’d find microbes as strange as these.
Specifically, researchers have found microbes inside some of the region’s volcanoes, which are incredibly dry even by the already ludicrous standards of the Atacama. Fungi and bacteria have been found in the recently collected soil samples, but of greatest interest are the least complex of the organisms, the archaea. Those found in the Atacama volcanoes seem to have evolved a way of converting energy – one of the most basic processes an organism undertakes – in a way unlike any other known species.
Excerpt of an article written by Alasdair Wilkins, at io9. Continue HERE
Directed by Van Neistat, 2012. Produced on the occasion of Tom Sachs’ Space Program: MARS
Artist Tom Sachs takes his SPACE PROGRAM to the next level with a four week mission to Mars that recasts the 55,000 square foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall as an immersive space odyssey with an installation of dynamic and meticulously crafted sculptures. Using his signature bricolage technique and simple materials that comprise the daily surrounds of his New York studio, Sachs engineers the component parts of the mission—exploratory vehicles, mission control, launch platforms, suiting stations, special effects, recreational amenities, and Mars landscape—exposing as much the process of their making as the complexities of the culture they reference.
SPACE PROGRAM: MARS is a demonstration of all that is necessary for survival, scientific exploration, and colonization in extraterrestrial environs: from food delivery systems and entertainment to agriculture and human waste disposal. Sachs and his studio team of thirteen will man the installation, regularly demonstrating the myriad procedures, rituals, and tasks of their mission. The team will also “lift off” to Mars several times throughout their residency at the Armory, with real-time demonstrations playing out various narratives from take-off to landing, including planetary excursions, their first walk on the surface of Mars, collecting scientific samples, and photographing the surrounding landscape.
Text via SPACE PROGRAM: MARS
Color and 10 Bullets by Tom Sachs